The prison of Perfectionism can often appear as a palace of high performance…
And there is a classic kind of “Trap” that millions of people have encountered…
Now, many have fallen prey to this trap but many have escaped, much don’t know the trap exists and some don’t see it as that, a trap, in fact, most of the time its fortified walls stand disguised in the majesty of a glorious unattainable self-portrait of a picture perfect that you can’t quite paint.
Alright, Shakespeare, I know chill out with the metaphor but you get the idea…
How many times do you find that as you navigate the corridors of this mind maze you get around one corner only to find you meet yourself in the mirror on the wall of the dead end, which you found around the last corner you were just at…
But alas there is always a way round towards your entrepreneurial aspirations…
The trick is that we can re-program our thoughts so that we can step through that mirror in our mind into a world where the progress of imperfect actions are perfected into excellence (while Grammarly helps us spell check along the way).
So we have all heard the saying and you may have even of said it yourself, “I’m a perfectionist”!
Most of the time this is usually said in a positive light but actually contrary to popular belief this may not be so…
So it’s important to know what is meant by this but more importantly what it really means…
One main feature that sets people who get a high level of success at the top of any arena is excellency the calibre, quality and quantity of their output. This may be an amazing information product, authority site, video campaign or well-crafted HTML.
While we may view this as near perfection and strive for this, What we see is excellency which is nearer to an imperfect set of actions repeated consistently towards excellence…
One of the common mistakes of a perfectionist mentality is the pattern of thought that says, “I can’t do this until I am good enough” or “It’s not perfect yet so I won’t put it out”.
Or maybe you have a high success rate but you messed up on your time management or made a minor mistake in your marketing budget and hit a wall of frustration and want to give up in defeat and self-sabotage…
This can become highly restrictive where the joy of good work becomes an oppressive taskmaster which locks you up in a prison of perfectionism and your work doesn’t see the light of day.
The good thing is that we can adjust our thinking re-wire our thoughts on the journey towards excellence.
It’s about progress, not perfection…
Now the perfectionist can lurk in our psyche masquerading as all sorts of “positive intentions” and psychological outfits.
It’s so liberating when you identify them and deconstruct the walls of falsification that hold you back from whom you were made to be and the type of work you want to put out online…
Now our thoughts go where our footsteps follow so its important to have the right mindset with the right systems of activity in place. One of the amazing aspects of the digital era is the automated systems that you can set in place that can serve you in delivering a finely timed and orderly operation…
So let’s take a deeper look and learn how to beat procrastination
Perfectionism, in psychology, is a personality trait characterized by a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting high-performance standards, accompanied by critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations.[1
The “Frost Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale”, states these six dimensions as some of the main features:
- The concern over making mistakes.
- High personal standards.
- The perception of high parental expectations.
- The perception of high parental criticism.
- The Doubting of the quality of one’s actions.
- A preference for order and organization.
So let’s take a trip downstairs into the psychological basement of the subconscious mind and see what the foundations of the prison of perfectionism are…
Here’s a checklist to help identify the characteristics of a perfectionist;
- There is no room for mistakes. Whenever you see an error you fixate on it and define the rest of it by that mistake.
- You have a very specific way in which things should
be done. Often, people don’t get you because you’re so specific about how things get done. if it doesn’t conform to your approach then it’s not acceptable and people find this hard to work with.
- You have an all-or-nothing approach. It’s either you do everything well, or you don’t do it at all. Everything in between is not acceptable. This can sometimes get great results but most of the time it restricts you from doing so.
- It’s all about the end result. You don’t care what happens on the journey to achieve that goal. You just want to ensure that the end result is attained; otherwise, you are swallowed up in devastation.
- You are extremely hard on yourself. Whenever something does not go right, you are really hard on yourself. Even if it’s not your fault or a small thing you beat yourself up and feel really bad about it for so long.
- You become depressed when you don’t achieve your goals. You will rehearse your critique of the outcome that doesn’t turn out as envisioned. You feel like everything is your fault if you don’t achieve the desired your goal.
- You have extremely high standards. Whatever you set your mind to do, you will have high targets. Sometimes, these targets stress you endlessly. You may put your self under immense pressure to get there. At one point, you become held back by these standards as you procrastinate and stop working on your goals out of fear of failure.
- Success never satisfies. Whatever you do, there’s always a greater height to aim for. You are rarely content with the status quo and you keep wanting to see more and better things.
- You procrastinate, waiting for the “right” moment. You only want to start when you feel ready to deliver the best quality of work. You perpetually wait for it to come in order to get something done.
- You constantly spot mistakes. While this can mean that you’re just detail-oriented, perfectionists often spot mistakes straight off. Sometimes these mistakes are real but sometimes not.
- You often spend copious amounts of time just to perfect something. Perfection is the end goal. It’s not uncommon that you to sacrifice your sleep, personal time, and well-being, just for perfection. means to an end, which usually doesn’t have an ending.
Can you relate with any of the these? Out of the 11 characteristics above, how many apply to you?
But It’s as important to know the difference between the drive for excellence as well as the struggle and strive for perfection. As we want to harness the former and remove the later…
Perfectionism vs. Aspiring to excellence;
In a positive light, great desire for excellence can provide the driving energy which leaves great accomplishments in time. The finely tuned attention to detail is necessary for engineers like Steve jobs, Nicola Tesla, Elon Musk.
Great scientific investigation, amazing music composition and incredible works of art from da Vinci and Micheal Angelo that decorate the walls of time…
There is no work of art in any museum that’s perfect. Every famous painting has plenty of blemishes that only a trained eye can spot…
The Mona Lisa is a great work of art, but if you look at it with X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, you’ll find that the painting is made up of over 40 layers of paint. Had Da Vinci gone much further beyond the 40th coat, he could have lost the subtlety of human expression his paintings are known for.
Perfectionists tend to hyper-focus on even the tiniest flaws. If you focus on the things you’re unable to do perfectly, you may end up doing nothing at all. You’ll procrastinate so much that the final product will be sub-par.
Perfectionism can be a type of protection mechanism that covers up out inadequacies and insecurities. These can be connected to different issues for different people, it can be very healthy in reflection to identify what and why these are to stop them from affecting your success. All about progress on one’s journey to excellence!
So important to differentiate excellence from perfectionism.
Perfectionists strive to be the best at everything they do, and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many perfectionists excel in their fields. But that doesn’t mean that this personality trait isn’t without its downsides. When a minor setback feels like a major personal failure, that’s when perfectionism becomes a burden.
Perfectionists may hold themselves or others to standards they know are unrealistic. If your perfectionism interferes with your ability to form or maintain relationships, there are steps you can take to break free. Do you see how perfectionism can become a self-fulfilling prophecy? Acknowledge that perfection is unattainable. Instead, aspire to excellence.
Implement these strategies and overcome your obsession with being perfect:
Remove the all or nothing mindset
Think of gradations. One powerful technique that you can use to claim the life you deserve is to learn to think in gradients.
Grey is not black, and one point below 100% is not zero. At the end of the day, only you know how much work you put into a project. Be your own authority, and congratulate yourself on your effort.
All-or-nothing thinking is unproductive because it only allows for two possibilities. But the reality isn’t binary. Computers rely on binary reasoning, but that’s because computers lack the ability to feel.
You learn and grow the most as a result of your missteps. Reality isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition.
This mindset is a big problem among perfectionists in general. Perfectionists tend to think in terms of very strict dichotomies like “complete everything” or don’t do it at all…
“NO MISTAKES MENTALITY”
This is unreal, no digital entrepreneur has succeeded without making mistakes along the way. Silicon Valley, home to thousands of tech companies including top corporations like facebook, apple and google strongly encourage failure “Fail fast, fail often is the mantra here”. Get rid of the all-or-nothing mindset. When you think like this you rarely get nothing at all.
Focus on maximising progress…
Break it down and celebrate every bit of progress;
Instead of envisioning your project as a perfect whole, try viewing it as a series of well-designed, interlocking pieces.
If you put your focus on completing each step, you’ll find that the entire process goes smoother. Stop worrying about the outcome. Instead, focus on one task after another.
You climb a flight of stairs by putting one foot in front of the other. Avoid expecting an immediate victory. By keeping your mind focused on the task at hand, you can create forward momentum. You’ll have less time to scrutinise the overall project because you’ll be immersed in the present moment.
If you find yourself stressing over individual steps, break your task down into smaller chunks. Complete the next action without rushing. If you take it step-by-step, you’ll chip away at a large project without agonizing over whether it’s perfect.
I find that perfectionists tend to focus on lack while having very harsh expectations of themselves.
They never rest until they have finished what they are doing. They are rarely satisfied with what they do. They are always looking for mistakes, issues to correct. And they don’t celebrate much, even when they have done a good job.
Michael Jackson once said, “I’m never pleased with anything, I’m a perfectionist, it’s part of who I am.” I myself am guilty of self-deprivation and self-blame while always expecting very high-performance levels.
I suppose it’s one way to live, to feel constant dissatisfaction with your work and unhappiness with it. It helps you focus on pushing new grounds with your craft and improve on your gaps.
However, may I suggest a different approach? Which is to celebrate everything you have done, including your progress, victories, mistakes and failures. That’s right — your mistakes and failures as well.
This means if you’ve “only” made a 1% progress in your task, celebrate that. If you run into a roadblock, celebrate the discovery of this blind spot that you didn’t know of before.
The interesting thing is that you may find that doing so doesn’t necessarily make you any lax with your work.
If anything, it encourages you to strive for better. It acknowledges your strengths and abilities and helps you harness them better.
It also makes life a lot more fun, joyful, and enjoyable. Because as opposed to a constant focus on lack, you now acknowledge what you do have. And such an abundance mentality goes a long way in building a positive mindset.
Avoid the perfectionist mind trap, go for the 80/20 rule;
The perfectionist mind is an elaborate labyrinth. It’s capable of absorbing large amounts of information, analysing details. and setting elaborate requisites for every task.
if content creation is king then your marketing is the queen and your horse and carriage are the campaigns you launch.
Because the perfectionist is detail orientated and capable of absorbing high levels of information. They are also weak when it comes to taking action. everything is important everything must be done, some get stuck in the endless loop of analysis of paralysis mode.
So, focus on the 80/20 the crucial few factors that generate the highest return of input, beware of the diminishing returns that come from trying to push and perfect every little thing, especially factors that do not actually affect what you’re trying to do.
So your content and marketing campaigns are top two priorities
Then next the way you engage with your customers will not be far off so it’s important to not get caught just in the systems…
As Robert Kiyosaki advises in his book, “Rich dad poor dad”, focus on managing systems, people and money…
Then as you manage this flow it loops back around and gains momentum, so maintenance and management and motion are key…
With your relationships, Give others a break;
If you find yourself imposing your perfectionism on others, stop and ask why. It’s helpful to realise that others aren’t required to live by your standards.
The more slack you give others, the easier you can be on yourself. Everyone has unique skills and talents. Keep in mind that your friends, family, and loved ones can do many things better than you. However, it’s also likely that you excel in areas your peers struggle with.
When you ask your friends to perform at your level in a skill where they lack confidence, they may feel controlled. Remember that our imperfections are what make us human.
But this is a poor message in retrospect. It’s important to be dedicated to your craft, but life doesn’t revolve around just your work. Make time come away from working on your online business and disconnected from the computer.
Use your ideas as guides, not absolutes;
Perfectionists tend to get very attached to their goals. Didn’t achieve a particular target? That means I’ve failed, they think. Didn’t accomplish a goal in a certain time frame? That means I’m worthless ****, they think. They take their goals as a representation of their worth and beat themselves up when things don’t go their way. Some decide that their goals aren’t for them and write off goal setting altogether; some fall into depression.
But is that true? That when you don’t achieve your goals (in a ready fashion), that you are lousy and worthless? No, of course not. Just because you don’t achieve your goals in a particular time frame doesn’t mean you have failed — it just means that you didn’t achieve your targets in that particular time frame. Perhaps there were things that cropped up. Perhaps your approach was wrong. Perhaps the goal you’re going for isn’t compatible and you need to set a more compatible goal.
Realise that your goals are meant as guides, not absolutes.
“Guide” meaning that your goal is intended to guide you in your path of betterment. “Not an absolute” meaning your goal isn’t some hard, unbendable target, where not achieving it means that you are a deficient person (which is rubbish by the way). You are more than your goals and achievements. You are here to make a huge dent in the universe.
What this means is, continue to set big goals. Let your heart run wild with your biggest goals and dreams, and let them guide you. Whether you’ve achieved a particular goal yet is not as important as the fact that you’re progressing toward it.
Remember, your real goal in life is to grow and work on
being your best self. Your goals are simply guides to help you do so
So to parallel the contrast of excellence and perfectionism and see the difference read below;
Aspiring for excellence;
- Relationship with goals; you feel positively motivated by your goals. there’s a sense of excitement, joy as you work on them.
- bias for action; you focus on the action while improving as you go
- you celebrate every small victory and give yourself credit where it is due
- Macro-micro; You recognise the big picture and do what is necessary to achieve the best outcome, not getting caught in every detail like the layout of your blog site, speaking with perfect grammar in all your videos etc.
- work vs. self; you have a healthy focus on personal health, relationships and rest.
- Attitude towards failures; when failures happen, you focus on learning from them. You understand failure is part of it.
- Attitude toward past mistakes; you use past mistakes as positive learning points to be better.
- Relationship with goals; You often feel weighed down by your goals. there’s a sense of fear that you may not succeed or do as well as you like
- Bias for action; You constantly procrastinate in anticipation of that “perfect” moment to do something.
- Personal satisfaction; You feel constant dissatisfaction with what you’ve created or achieved, always feeling that nothing is ever enough.
- Macro-Micro; You obsess about correcting tiny mistakes at the expense of other priorities.
- Work vs. self; You constantly neglect your personal health, relationships, and rest time for work.
- Attitude towards the past mistakes; You feel regret over the things which are long passed.
So now with the perfectionist mind trad identified, you can pursue your entrepreneurial aspirations with a higher productive state of flow. Now you can navigate through the various obstacles while developing your personal inner game progressing to excellent works of creation while becoming who you were made to be…